Aging In Place And Growing Older In Your Custom Home

Aging In Place And Growing Older In Your Custom Home

Greg:    Jason, good to see you again.

Jason:    Good to see you Greg. Thanks for coming over today.

Greg:    Always my pleasure. I must extend a thank you to you for allowing me to come by on a weekly basis and pick your brain. If I can use this opportunity actually, I feel this is a time that I get to sit down and ask questions that I’m curious about, but I know you share some of this podcast on Instagram, and Facebook, and things like that. I assume that if any of the listeners would have some questions, you’d be happy to answer those questions as well, is that correct?

Jason:    Absolutely. Actually, I had a fellow reached out to me from Florida the other day, believe it or not. The short time we’ve doing it, I guess there are a few people listening, send their any questions.

Greg:    Maybe we’ll do a question session before too long or someone has a good in-depth question, we’ll tackle that on the future episodes. I’m curious as I read articles about people aging … We all age obviously but how do you take aging in the consideration when building a house, or people trying to age in the same, or build for their parents that might be aging, or some of the considerations that go with stairs getting tougher and things like that?

Jason:    Yeah. All of those things are extremely important, especially the level of houses we’re building. A lot of people want this to be their forever home. They want to be able to age in place, and then a good portion of our clients actually have extended family relatives that at some point in the very near future, they intend to have them residing in the same house. We’ve got to find a way to make it comfortable for almost two families to live in the same household, very peaceful.

Greg:    Right, that’s key. You want to be close but not too close. I’m curious, we’ve talked before about through the interview process you do. Is this kind of issue coming up in the very beginning where people are saying “I want a new custom house and part of that is my in-laws might be moving or my parents might be moving in with us.” Are you finding that they build a house and then years down the road, they say, “Here’s an addition to the household.” How do you make that fit in, or please make it fit in with what you’ve already done?

Jason:    Since we’re a design build firm, almost all of the time when we have our initial client meeting, we talk about what’s going to be required in the house. Almost always it comes up about designing for long term. We’ll try to incorporate wider hallways like you’ve talked about and just make it a very handicap accessible. A couple of the key things that really determine how we design the house is, where is that second bedroom going to go or that second kitchen there are going to go for that family member that’s going to live with you.

A lot of times, we’ll do two first floor master bedroom suites. We did a house a year or so ago that we had a totally separate entry on the main floor with a separate garage that was off one side of the house. It was the client’s mother that was living with them. She help take care of the kiddos when they’re at work, but she wanted her own separate place that she could call her own so it had a separate little kitchen, little family room, and a bedroom, and it was totally separate from the rest of the house connected through a door that was lockable.

All in the same level, we put a ramp into the garage so if she wasn’t in a wheelchair but I guess at some point down the road, there could have been the option for a wheelchair. We went ahead and put that ramp in there, so this particular house had two first floor bedrooms that two families again can reside in and live their own separate lives but be together when need be.

Greg:    I have to admit, I need to start thinking bigger because when I asked a question your answer is there as well, and larger, and greener than I had thought. I was thinking more like wondering if you’re building carriage houses, or additions, but you’re starting from scratch in really building integrating those future life change, as future lifestyle into the initial build from the beginning?

Jason:    Yeah. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve gotten so many clients and I’m building these houses for that I am actually designing my first spec house to be built over in Glenview Park that is going to have two first floor master suites. One of them is a client, I don’t know who’s going to buy it so I’m trying to imagine my potential buyer, but it will probably be an executive office for a while but down the road, somebody could totally convert that into an [animal 00:04:50] suite, a nanny suite, whatever.

Greg:    Wow. Okay. Are you able to fit something like this into sort of what you’ve talked about some of the larger custom homes. I know you build a lot in Norton Commons, are we seeing something like that in Norton Commons that tend to be a little bit smaller and I would imagine harder to fit that into, or are there other accommodations that you can do?

Jason:    When we talk about Norton Commons, we definitely have some restrictions on size. Instead of building out, we will usually build up.

Greg:    Let me ask you real quickly, the restriction on size, is that just physical limitation of the lot sizes or are there regulations in place at Norton Common that say I don’t know what size, but you can’t have a 20,000 square foot home?

Jason:    Right. It’s usually restricted based on the lot. The lots are not huge in here. They’re okay size but usually to get two master suites or something like that on the first floor gets a little tough and then you don’t have any green space.

Greg:    Okay. Are you doing second floor, second masters? I don’t even know if that’s right term where people are putting elevators in? Are you seeing more chair lifts or something along those lines?

Jason:    That’s how we tackle it, we’ll put a elevator in or more often than not, we may design a house to have an elevator shaft. We might have a large walk-in pantry on the first floor that would go upstairs to a large walk-in closet that down the road could easily be converted to an elevator. The shaft is there and built, we just put a floor in it.

Greg:    Again, that’s planning ahead. You’re not saying necessarily you’ve put a lot of elevators in so far, it’s just your thinking ahead in building that concept into the house so that if so and called you up later and said, “All right, I’m ready for the elevator,” boom, you can come in and it’s ready to go?

Jason:    That’s right. We did plan ahead but then again I just wrapped up construction on a house in Norton Commons that we did actually install the elevator, couple of move to [Lowigle 00:06:50] from Arlington, Virginia and just retire here. She has some sisters and actually one is on wheelchair and they wanted this house to be the family place to gather, and so installed the elevator. We put a guest suite on the second floor for her sister.

It went to another level, we did a curtain-less shower, so you can roll the wheelchair into the shower. There’s a whole lot of other considerations to tackle other than just wider hallways, once you get a wheelchair bound person trying to reside in the house.

Greg:    In your mind, sort of the people looking down the road, you’re also incorporating people getting older, and the possibility of handicap accessibility just sort of making the homes you build more accessible to everyone in every stage of life. It’s not necessarily an issue. and then there’s a different issue, you’re broadening the house so that appeal can be to however someone wants to use it, it will be ready for them to use in that manner?

Jason:    Yeah. We like to try to find a mixed use application. A lot of times you may build your forever house, and you get transferred, the person behind your house may not have the specific needs you did but you can adjust the house to different families needs. We just like to get folks options.

Greg:    Wonderful. Once again, I love coming by and have a question I get to ask it, I get it answered, and it works out well for me so thanks for having me.

Jason:    Greg, always a pleasure and look forward to next week.

Greg:    Sounds great.